12 things I'm going to be focusing on in 2018
Having rounded off 2017 in a 779 word blog post, four pints of beer and two shots of tequila, I'm jumping straight onto the bandwagon of “hell yeah, new year.”
I have no shame in admitting that I get immersed into the idea that a change of year leads to new opportunities and a fresh perspective.
I can't predict where this year will take me. This is the first time in a while where I haven't got a vision of the next 12 months - no planned job changes, country moves or holidays that can help me predict 2018.
But this year isn't a blank canvas.
Last year, I laid the foundations for the life that I wanted to lead. Now it's time to embrace and protect it.
For me, 2018 will be the year of “refinement” - or, as I’m more likely to call it “getting my shit together”.
And, unlike my poor blogging attempt from last year, I’ll be documenting my journey on here.
I’ve broken down all the elements that make up my life into 12 “topics” and will be focusing on one each month.
Pippa Says will essentially be my accountability partner to ensure I actually do sort my life out - and you lovely lot can hopefully pick up some tips or little snippets of entertainment at my expense on the way.
Without further mumbling, here are the 12 topics that made the cut. They're not in chronological order. I know life’s curveballs all too well to know that the right topic for each month will arise nearer the time.
Given that I'm already in the month, I can confirm that 'habits' is the first topic I'll be focusing on. Pretty predictable, I know, but I fear that last year my habits went a little out of whack.
There was a time (probably two years ago, admittedly) that I had some really key habits in place: wake up at the same time every day, hot lemon water in the morning, regularly exercising and keeping on top of mindfulness training.
Whilst some of those habits may not work for me anymore, I'd like to spend this month exploring what could, in order to make me more productive and less stressed.
If you follow me on Twitter, you'll be aware that I have fairly strong views on living in a way that benefits the environmental. I have a relationship with the lovely folk at the Ethical Consumer Magazine, fangirl constantly over Hubbub and recently have started to develop a CEO crush on Clive Schlee, who heads up Pret.
"I’m delighted you can now get 50p off a hot drink when you bring your reusable cup to @Pret. I hope this will make a difference." - @cliveschlee, 2nd January. What a dreamboat.
Whilst I've shared the occasional posts on my views of sustainable fashion, there's a lot I've not shared before.
I'm not a saint, nor do I want to be a preacher. I do buy veggies wrapped in plastic sometimes, if it's outstandingly more convenient or the cheaper option. Sometimes, I forget to ask for a drink without a plastic straw. And I do have to buy a plastic bag from time to time.
But every day I'm adapting my lifestyle towards one that's more pro-planet and less, well, not. There's so much more that I can do and I'd like to focus more on what that could be this year.
The time has come for me to stop spending money on those avocados and start putting that money into chickpeas, for homemade humous.
But, hands up, I could definitely do better with my personal finances. Whilst the likelihood of it is growing ever slim, I'd at least like to try to be in a position where I could own a house - or, maybe, just a shed - one day.
For years, I've shied away from having conversations, or simply reading, about finances. I don't want to be that person anymore.
I think it's safe to say that food has a very dear place in my soul. Over the last 18 months or so, I've turned into that person who reels off facts about the Brighton foodie scene like I'm a part of it - I'm not, I just really like gossip, and food.
But my diet is somewhat... awkward, shall we say. I'm allergic to cows milk, have a wheat intolerance and can't eat raw oranges or bananas. One of my favourite posts that I've ever written is "How newly diagnosed food intolerances are like a really bad breakup".
Like all bad breakups, however, I've now grown to love myself (read: food) even more.
And for the last four or so months, I've been transitioning towards more of a vegan diet - eating ethically sourced meat once or twice a week (when I can afford it).
Honestly, I can't wait for a month where I get to talk about food all the time.
I have a feeling that the 'exercise' month will come soon. Perhaps it's the time of the year, or maybe just the fact that I know focusing on exercise with my "accountability partner" will force me to *actually exercise*.
To be clear, I don't want my "fitness content" to be focused on being too preachy (so, please, tell me if it does). It's just that I used to exercise a lot as a young thing, but over the last few years my confidence with it has gone to pot.
I want to get my running shoes and goggles on (preferably, separately) a few times a week (probably once) and feel as good as everyone else who exercises seems to feel.
This is a big one - and will most likely be a combination of nutrition, exercise and raising awareness of smear tests and boob checking.
I've struggled with a fairly poor immune system for years and have, frankly, had enough. (I've also had the nastiest cold since the 23rd December, with no signs of it shifting yet.)
I know I could be doing more to look after myself and have also learnt some lessons along the way that have helped others in similar positions.
But what I will say is: check your boobs, ladies. Seriously.
I've been writing music for as long as I can remember - with the earliest song I can remember being 'Planetzone', written aged 6, after learning about the universe. That love of songwriting lead me to spend a year "studying" it at BIMM - sparking my love of Brighton.
Songwriting has been a love of mine that always gets pushed to the side and seems to happen more by secretly singing tunes into my phone when I think no one's watching, than actually sitting down and playing my beloved keyboard.
If 'personal finances' are getting a month's focus on here, I really should balance it out with songwriting, too.
I can't do a 'sort my shit out in 2018' list, documented on my blog, without my blog having a month itself.
Over the last year, Pippa Says has become a key representative for "how not be a blogger" - partially due to starting a business and getting to grips with freelancing, but, really, it comes down to confidence, too.
Enough of that.
I love blogging, and may this be the year that I truly embrace that.
Running a business
It's quite likely that the 'running a business' thing will be a theme all year - despite having a 'key focus' for each month, I'll still keep my 'start up diaries' going (it's quite cathartic, to be honest).
But it goes without saying that 'running a business' is certainly one of the 12 things that I need to get my head around this year - because shit's getting really real.
As you've probably guessed, I love to travel - and do so fairly often. This year will most likely see me travel quite a lot around the UK as the City Girl Network grows. I think it's time that I took Pippa Says with me.
I'd also like to become a lot more efficient at packing and finding the cheapest way of travelling.
I should note here that my only 'New Year's Resolution' here is to get a driving license. We'll see how that goes.
There are so many things that I want to talk about in this month that I don't know where I'd start - but I'm already excited to be speaking more openly about the causes I fight for offline (and really should have been more vocal about online).
Given the nature of my business, you won't be at all surprised that equal pay, period poverty, everyday sexism, sexism in entrepreneurship, the Miss Representation project and sexual assault will be a big part of this month. But you should also expect me to put some focus on homelessness, mental health of all genders, lack of education in politics and - of course - the 'single-use plastic problem'.
There'll be more, I'm sure.
The City Girl Network
As I said previously in 'running a business', you'll hear about the City Girl Network a lot over the year (and beyond). But I do want to spend a month focusing on the network itself - not how I'm personally finding it, but the experiences of the HQ team, our community managers and the city girls themselves.
How does Manchester compare to Bristol? What are some of the best stories that have arisen from the network? Who's behind each community?
The City Girl Network is an enormous part of my life and I look forward to a month of really, truly celebrating that on here.
Anyway, there we have it, a 'blog plan' for a year that doesn't really have plan. And now it's time I call out to you, reader, if you were to focus on one aspect of your life each month, what would they be?
Oh and if you've got to the end of this blog post and have spotted anything you'd really like me to write about - please let me know. There's a lot that can be covered in those topics.
Big love and HNY x